Around the World in 185 Days! travel blog

Entering Jaisalmer fort

roofdeck view of Jaisalmer

Gearing up for safari

"You can lead a camel to water, but...."

sunset on the dunes

Jodhpur market

Jodhpur market

I nearly lost my mind the first couple of days back in India. Paul and I discussed that from what we have seen, being in this country must be what it was like in the U.S. back in the early to mid 20th century. To name a few examples; livestock comingling with people on poorly (if) paved city streets, the 'new' cars manufactured here look like something out of 1950, and inane paperwork for the simplest tasks as buying a train ticket or changing money. The latter example brings me to how I nearly lost my mind. We arrived in Delhi from Kathmandu via airplane two hours behind schedule (the flight itself is only two hours) and immediately attempted to book the next overnight train to Jaisalmer, India at the railway ticket counter in the airport. We filled out the requisite request for reservation paperwork (which most people pseudonym themselves Mickey Mouse or some such to mock the system since the locals know no different and don't check any i.d.) We were denied being ticketed because the train was leaving in two hours. (?) We hopped into a taxi and managed to scoot through rush hour traffic with 20 minutes to spare. The good news is, as a woman in India it is customary to walk to the front of any line. We frantically ran to each window in the two building station only to be redirected nearly a dozen times. no exaggeration. NO ONE WOULD SELL US A TICKET! After missing the train, I told Paul I wanted to go back to the airport and fly out of India! It may be a somewhat funny spin now, but it was depressing our first few days back here. The fact that two trips to the train station the following day and we still failed to secure a train ticket didn't help matters...

We finally made it to Jaisalmer, "The Golden City" and were now a little pressed for time given the delays. The city had an air of mystique with carved, crumbling sandstone fort walls enclosing the city and women dressed in bright flowing saaris together with men sporting bright colored turbans and funky curled moustaches. We found a quaint hotel with an Arabian desert design feel and peaceful roofdeck literally on the fort wall, overlooking the bustle below. In keeping with the animal and safari themes of late, we booked an overnight camel safari.

Mr. Magoo (complete with turban and moustache) and his twelve year old son were our guides through the desert via camels. In our group were a couple from Canada, Ben and Ivanka, and Korrina from Sweden. We had a great time getting to know our smelly, belching and often ornery camel friends while exploring the rocky and dry shrubbed desert landscape. After a long day pretending to be Lawrence of Arabia we settled on some peaceful, rippled sand dunes to watch the sunset and eat one of Mr. Magoo's delicious chapati and curry vegetable meals (cooked from scratch over an open fire.) By the end of the second day no one could sit quite right - on or off the camels- and a jeep came to our rescue just in the nick of time.

Our next quick stop was Jodhpur the "Blue City." Apparently at sunset the city takes on a blue hue (we'll see tonight.) We have grown so weary of sidestepping cow patties (and cows themselves) and smelling the rotten smells in the streets that we are most content to view the cities from the roof terraces of our hotels. This, by the way, appears a common phenomenon among many other travelers we have met. There is a rather impressive fort towering above the city of Jodhpur and they are known for their spice markets here.

All in all, I think it is safe to say that we are looking forward to making our way back to civilization. Technically tonight is our last night in India as we are on a night flight back to London tomorrow night.

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